USA TODAY High School Sports‘ Friday Night Notes is a weekly high school recruiting recap that looks at the latest news from around the country—from the Class of 2023 to ’24 and beyond.
The advent of NIL money becoming available to college and high school players have brought on a surge of ugly commentary and negative generalizations about young athletes. Some are painted as selfish, greedy, poorly-behaved, and only interested in where they can make the most money – as if there’s something wrong with an athlete wanting to maximize their earnings – especially in a sport as dangerous and violent as football.
Sadly, some of the most famous people in the industry reinforce aspects of these negative stereotypes. Deion Sanders’ unfortunate recent comments about only wanting recruits coming from two-parent households are only one of the countless bad examples.
Often these stereotypes fly in the face of the evidence. Many of these young players are exceptionally unselfish and do a lot to give back to their communities. One superb example is that of Lincoln East (Neb.) four-star Athlete Malachi Coleman, who signed with Nebraska just before Christmas after briefly re-opening his recruitment.
Before his current family adopted him, Coleman suffered abuse as a foster child when he was growing up. Now he’s doing what he can to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else. Coleman will be donating his NIL money to the foster system.
Here’s the full story from CBS Evening News that Coleman shared on Twitter:
Be a leader 💯 pic.twitter.com/SbwWE0dPHP
— Malachi Coleman (@ChiColeman23) February 18, 2023
Buford's 5-star Athlete KJ Bolden lines up visits
One of the most versatile players in the class of 2024 is Buford (Ga.) Athlete K.J. Bolden (6-foot-1, 185 pounds), who plays all three phases, putting in time at wide receiver, safety and as a kickoff and punt returner.
Bolden is ranked No. 1 among Athletes and No. 4 overall in the nation. As a result, he is one of the most sought-after players in his class, with at least 37 offers to choose from. To help him decide, Bolden is gearing up for a recruiting tour later this year.
Recently, Bolden told Nate Gravender that he has spring and summer visits lined up at five schools: Alabama, Oregon, USC, Arkansas and Miami.
5🌟 KJ Bolden tells me these are the schools he plans to visit this spring/summer
He is ranked as the #2 overall player in the 2024 class (#1 S)
Where should he call home? 👇🏼 pic.twitter.com/cjqDweCzRh
— Nate Gravender (@recruit_access) February 16, 2023
These visits may change things, but for now On3’s prediction model has Georgia (27.8%) as the favorite to get his commitment, followed by Ohio State (17.9%), Clemson (13.9%) and Alabama (9.3%).
Commitments you might have missed
This was another relatively slow news week in the recruiting world, with only a few high-profile football commitments. One announcement came from Tennessee three-star safety Marcus Goree, who is staying in-state with the Tennessee Vols. Meanwhile, Texas four-star Athlete Roger Gradney committed to Nebraska.
Here are some other notable commitments from the past week that you may have missed, according to On3.
St. Frances (Md.) LB Darius Jones: Wake Forest (2024)
Junipero Serra (Calif.) LB Jabari Mann: San Jose State (2024)
Oakland Technical (Calif.) ATH Anthony Alonzo: Bethune-Cookman (2023)
Winneconne (Wisc.) EDGE Daniel Simon: South Dakota State (2024)
Rockledge (Fla.) WR Axzavian Alexander: USF (2024)
Blake School (Minn.) EDGE Dane Borene: Princeton (2024)
Graham-Kapowsin (Wash.) S Ethan Pletcher: Central Washington (2023)
Whitewater (Ga.) ATH Noumou Diallo: Shorter (2023)
More recruiting news from around the USA TODAY Sports college wires
Top 2024 safety planning first-ever visit to Gainesville
Nittany Lions Wire
Penn State makes top 10 for Class of 2024 four-star athlete
Colorado Buffaloes Wire
Colorado, Penn State first to offer 2026 QB DJ Bordeaux
Fighting Irish Wire
Early look at 2014 recruiting class rankings
Oklahoma makes top 12 for 4-Star WR Zion Ragins
Ohio State attempting to flip Florida commit, offers RB scholarship
Every QB Oregon has offered in 2024 recruiting class
LSU Tigers Wire
Louisiana EDGE, Duke commit Ahmad Breaux sets LSU visit
CB target Jameer Grimsley set to visit Auburn
Roll Tide Wire
Alabama offers 2024 EDGE Steven Soles
Wisconsin offers 6-foot-4 wide receiver from Maryland